Baseball is often characterized as a game of brute force against brute force, but it’s also so much more than that. The game is a combination of art, science, and luck. Players and fans alike rely on certain rules, traditions, and rituals to make the game work.
Every play begins with the ball being thrown to the batter by a pitcher for the fielding team. The batter then stands in one of the batter’s boxes and attempts to hit the ball with a bat. The batter must keep his front leg straight up in a rigid stance to generate the most force going toward the baseball, and he must hit the ball with the top of his bat.
The goal of a team at bat is to enable its base runners to score by touching all four bases in order and then reaching home plate. A batting team’s turn at the plate ends when it has recorded three outs.
During each half-inning, both teams have the chance to bat and score runs. A team’s turn ends when the defending team records three outs. Then the other team takes its turn at batting and the game continues.
In addition to watching the action on the field, a fan can follow the game’s progress by looking at the scoreboard and box scores. The scoreboard conveys the game’s overall story, while the box scores tell individual player stories. For example, a catcher’s ERA (earned run average) reflects the number of earned runs he has allowed during a game. A batter’s batting average and HR/9 (home runs per nine innings) reflect how well he is hitting the ball compared to his peers.
When a player gets up to bat, the defense adjusts accordingly. For instance, the center fielder may shift his position to better follow the hitter’s swing, while the right-fielder moves in closer behind him. A runner who is on third base may move up the baseline a little farther, and his teammates might run out to back him up in case of an error or tag.
The game’s most thrilling moments usually occur when a batter hits the ball so far that it clears the fence beyond the outfield. The jubilant players and fans celebrate the moment with high fives and songs.
Another popular pastime is rooting for a player or team to continue a streak of something. Whether it’s consecutive wins, a long home run streak or the perfect game, these streaks give fans an extra reason to watch their favorite players perform and cheer for their team.